By: Samuel Dasilva
So you want to build lean muscle and burn stubborn body fat but you’re struggling with how to do both. It’s actually quite simple! If you lower your calorie intake, weight train and perform exercises that target the cardio vascular system, the results will soon come. The difficult part is finding out the most efficient way to do both while maintaining a comfortable and healthy lifestyle. A mixture of resistance weight training coupled with low to moderate steady state cardio is the key to achieving that lifestyle and here are some reasons why.
Whether you have been working out for 10 years or 10 weeks your body requires the same amount of recovery time. Putting your body through intense training sessions is necessary for growth and progress in terms of muscle size and shape. If you are training a muscle group you should allow at least 24-48 hours of recovery time before training it again. This allows protein synthesis to take place which in turn allows that muscle group to fully repair. When it comes to cardio, the rules for recovery are the same. If you are always trying to get in and out of the gym, you might resort to high intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio. This type of cardio is great and can be extremely beneficial for targeting fat loss but doing HIIT multiple times a week in combination with weight training can leave your body worn out and your central nervous system weak. Implementing low intensity steady state cardio will allow you to burn a similar amount of calories while giving your muscles the proper time to recover. Low intensity cardio does not tap into your central nervous system nearly as much as HIIT cardio does meaning your body will require much less recovery time. Giving yourself a 30-45 minute window after a workout to do low intensity cardio is more beneficial in the long run and will allow for more intense workouts with less recovery time in between.
Keeping up with it
Most people think that walking on a treadmill or a Stairmaster for 30-45 minutes won’t satisfy their need for fat burning and cardiovascular training. So they resort to high but short intensity cardio sessions. Although this might seem like the way to go initially, it can quickly catch up with you. When starting something new, be it a diet or gym routine, it is always about starting slow and making sure your goals are attainable. Telling yourself to do HIIT 4-5 times week is not something that the average individual can maintain for long. Doing 2-3 days a week of low intensity cardio is a much more reasonable way to start. Stressing yourself less while burning a similar amount of calories is a sure way to keep your program on track and your progress moving in a linear fashion.
When in a state of a caloric deficit coupled with a weight training and cardiovascular exercise program, your body is put under severe stress. Lifting weights anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour will stimulate your muscles enough to cause growth. When you burn more calories than you take in, your energy expenditure levels are going to be lower than normal. Maximizing your weight training is essential in keeping the most muscle mass on your frame while dieting. Doing high intensity cardio will hinder muscle growth due to the level of stress it puts on your muscles as well as your joints. Being able to give it your all in the gym is what will keep your motivation up and your muscles strong. Implementing low intensity cardio will burn unwanted fat in time and leave you ready to push harder the next time you’re in the gym even in a caloric deficit.